Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kit, Unwired

My life is in transition, and my daughter Casie and I are in the process of moving. We've looked at a few places, from rooms to rent to apartments and may end up moving in with relatives.

My son, Xavier, has been having a fit over the move, and it hasn't been easy for either of us. He's gone from rage at the lunatic landlord in the basement for telling us we have to move because he's moving, to depression. He'll probably stay with his half sister or bunk with friends.

On a lighter note, the funniest story is when Casie and I had dinner at a New Age, 'go green', vegan group house. I went out of curiosity and because the rent was cheap.

It was hot as mofo up in there. They've 'gone green' to save on air conditioning.

As we finished our dinner, I noticed they have only one refrigerator.

"How do you all keep your foods separated?", I asked.

The head of this cult answered.

"We each pay $100 for the grocery bill each month," he said, "That's to pay for non-food items. Otherwise we grow our vegetables and we liberate food several times a week."

"Liberate food?", I asked, puzzled.


He described what this was. Casie and I stared at our now empty plates. It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

I said, "You mean you go dumpster diving?"

"You could put it that way. It's one of the chores you can sign up for."

When pigs fly.


Ya know, our country has taken a helluva beating economically. These were white folks, half who had decent jobs in the recent past but sank to this to survive. They're holding tight onto their middle class image buy dressing up their new poverty with Orwellian-like phrases such as going green and liberating food, and becoming vegetarians because they can't afford meat.

"What if I buy and cook a steak?", I asked.

"Some people might get offended," he replied.

More like hungry, I thought.

The cult leader, which is how I think of him, is raking in the money. Toilet paper, soap and detergent for ten boarders don't cost no got damned $1,000 a month, and lemme tell you, that top floor room they had for rent wasn't nearly as big as advertised and was hot as an oven.

Scams are everywhere to sucker people looking for cheap housing. My own landlord, who ain't shit, will probably skip out of town with my deposit next week. The news always talks about the housing market, yet barely says a word about the high cost of apartments; those rents haven't budged, and from what I see, continue to go up.

Man, I wish the hell I had done some things differently, but I didn't. I did the best I could, so I have to let it go. This transition is presenting some hard choices. I may have to give up my beloved little dog who brings so much comfort to me. Well, with perseverance and a little luck, I think I can rebuild my savings and my life.

I really have no other choice.

My Internet will be cut sometime this week, and I'm not in a hurry to get it turned on again. I've been taking a break from the news and it's felt nice being unwired. Heck, most of the news stories have been horrible this year anyway.

So, I'm in blogging lite mode for the rest of summer. Once I turn in my cable box, I'll turn comment moderation on.

By the way! I was awake when the 3.6 earthquake hit the the DC area. Man, what a shocker. I heard the rumble, the house shook, and my windows rattled. It lasted a long time too, maybe six or eight seconds. I ran to check on Casie (Xavier wasn't home) and it woke her up.

The earthquake made me wonder, along with all of these other converging problems, if the hands of fate aren't pushing me toward a new destiny.

I wish God would tell me what to do. I keep listening...

Monday, July 5, 2010

When Relationships
Are Like An Onion And A Maze

What does a difficult person have in common with an onion?

What does a crazy relationship have in common with a maze?

When you visualize an onion and a maze, and attach the images to those concepts, the answer is intuitive, even when it's hard to put in words.

You might recall your first childhood science experiment with an onion. Remember your surprise when you peeled it, and how many layers it had before getting to the center? How some onions have two centers? How your eyes began to burn and tear up?

How many people have you met like this since then? Or been closely involved with?

The thing about a relationship with, for lack of a better phrase, an Onion Head, is their appeal can be their mystery.

Most of us like a little mystery in those who initially attracted us. It gives us time to build a fantasy around this new person.

"Oooh, he has a good job!"

"She's so pretty and nice!"

Okay, so he has a good job. So what. He might be so incompetent at it that he has one foot on a banana peel and the other on the way to the unemployment line, or worse, he's the office backstabber, which is part of his overall character.

And her? He ain't seen her when she first wakes up, and her family and last five boyfriends can testify she ain't all that nice.

Show me someone who came home from a bad first date, and I'll guess one possible reason is their date revealed too much too soon and didn't know when to shut up.

This should be considered a good first date when the person is solid and genuine, but just awkward. Human nature is weird though, and that need for a little mystery thing has eliminated a lot of good folks.

Some bad dates of this category are good. They tell all and thus reveal their low character and/or questionable values from the start, and when it's over, you know you don't have to waste any further time with them.

But then there are the Mutant Onion Heads. They have lots of mystery, often combined with some characteristic that draws others to them without making them cry until numerous layers have been peeled away.

These are the men or women who lure you into some kind of intense relationship with them. Time is an investment, and like any investment, the more you put in, the harder it is to walk away. The reason again has to do with human nature. We hate to think we gave up a lot for little or nothing in return, so we hang in there, hoping things will return to early days before the onion made you cry.

But an onion is an onion is an onion... and the longer you stay, the more layers are revealed and the more your eyes burn with pain from the noxious fumes of who they really are.

By this time, you're in a relationship with them, which is like a maze. There is no straight path to their intentions much less their heart. It's all about twists and turns and getting lost... so lost that finding your way out is as hellish your previous attempts to find their center.

There is no birds-eye view from above where you can see how to get closer to the person or to find the exit. Don't expect any honest hints from the Mutant Onion Head either. Deception mystery is their thang, remember?

That's what got you into the maze in the first place.

What is normal?

Some of us came from families where a significant caretaker had Onion Head qualities. This can make that kind of behavior normal in our eyes. The norm is not knowing, yet wanting to know, so we re-enact this relationship over and over again as adults, subconsciously hoping we'll get it right by either finding the core, or getting the strength and clarity to conquer the problem by finding our way out of the maze.

This isn't to say getting lost in this kind of relationship with this kind of person can't happen to anyone; it does all the time, just not nearly as often.

What happens when the Mutant Onion Head isn't a person?

It can be a group, such as a workplace, community group, place of worship, training school, street gang, social club, media outlet, corporation, political party, or even a military or nation.

And why not? The mystery is there. It - whatever it is - appeals to our need to connect and join something interesting that we can be a part of.

When things are "interesting", it's usually because you don't know something and want to find out more. We may be more vulnerable to this than previous generations because we live in a fantasy-based, wishful thinking culture.

To compound our need for an interesting experiences, we want to be involved and to participate. Mankind is a social animal that gets lonely, and in groups, wants and needs recognition. This includes groups of two, such as you and the person you like or love, or being part of a larger group.

We naturally look for the core. It is there that the center resides. The question is, or should be, is person, group or nation centered, and without too many layers that involve navigating through a complicated maze to get there, or to get to the truth of what they're really about?

If there is too much mystery and too many secrets, either there is no core, or there's more than one. This means no values, or split values reserved for different people or groups at different times.

"She's nice."

"He has a good job."